Let’s begin by making sure that Python is properly installed and configured on your computer. Now the good news is if you’re watching this on a Mac or Linux machine then chances are you’ve already got Python installed on your system.
The Mac ships with Python as does Ubuntu Linux so you might already be good to go but you can make sure that you have the right version by following along with me.
Here on my machine I’ve opened a terminal window and if you’re on Windows or Linux use the terminal program that came with your system. So I’m going to type the command python3 –version.
And you can see that I’m using Python 3.6 on my computer. Now if you didn’t get a result that looks like this, the word Python followed by a version number, you probably got some kind of error message. If you’re on Windows, try just typing the word Python by itself followed by –version. If you still get an error, that means that Python is not on your computer and you need to go get it. So let’s go do that on the Python website. This is the Python website, located at python.org, and I’m going to click on the downloads button.
And you can see that there are two versions of Python. There’s the 2.7 series and then there’s the 3 series. 2.7 is the original version of the Python language whereas the 3 series is the new updated modern version of Python. Now I’m going to be using version three in this course because it’s the future of the language. Development of 2.7 was stopped some time ago even though it’s still getting bug fixes and it is officially supported up through 2020 and you can still find some online platforms like Google Cloud that uses it.
Two versions of Python
If you’d like to learn more about the differences between the two versions of Python. You can click on this link and it will take you to a documentation page describing the various differences. You can see here that the downloads page defaults to the version for my OS. And there are download links provided for a variety of operating systems. So if you need to, download and install the version that’s appropriate for your computer. On the Mac there’s one more step that you might have to take. Once you’ve installed Python, go into your applications folder and click on the Python install folder.
If you see a shell command named install certificates, go ahead and run it. Just double click on it and it should execute. This will install the security certificates that we need later in the course for working with internet data. Once you’ve got Python installed you’re ready to continue with the course.
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